Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Closing Gaps in Washington’s Safe Storage Gun Laws Will Prevent Tragedies
Press Release

RELEASE: Closing Gaps in Washington’s Safe Storage Gun Laws Will Prevent Tragedies

Washington, D.C. — Washington state has long been a leader on gun violence prevention policies, but legal gaps around the risks of unsecured guns remain an urgent priority in need of filling, according to a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress.

Voters in the state have taken action on a number of important ballot measures aimed at reducing firearm deaths and injury, but Washington still stands to benefit from implementing safe storage legislation and dangerous access prevention laws that would go far to prevent the substantial portion of gun violence that has roots in the home. While the city of Seattle already passed similar regulations earlier in 2018, taking action statewide would have a profound impact on public safety.

“Over the past decade, Washington voters have acted on gun violence prevention when the legislature has refused to, and now they will again. Our state has the opportunity to take common-sense steps to reduce gun violence in our communities by raising the age requirement to own assault weapons; mandating safety training before purchasing a gun; and importantly, establishing new safe storage rules. We know we can prevent tragedies by helping ensure the only operator of the firearm is its owner—cutting down on suicides, unintentional discharges, and theft. This is a major public health and safety problem that Washington can and will take on,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D).

“It’s simple: Common-sense gun storage laws save lives and prevent tragedies,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of Gun Violence Prevention at CAP and co-author of the brief. “The national narrative frequently focuses on mass shootings and ignores the everyday violence that results from unsecured firearms. Now, Washington has an opportunity to change the conversation.”

The consequences of unsecured guns in Washington homes have too often turned fatal, ranging from unintentional shootings at home to youth suicide and from school shootings to gun theft. To reduce the risks of unsecured guns, the brief recommends:

  • Requiring gun owners to secure their firearms with gun locks or keep them stored in a safe when not in use
  • Increasing accountability measures for failure to store guns securely

To read the issue brief, click here.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at [email protected] or 202.481.8137.